Saturday, October 13, 2012
Calgary Folk Club: Oct. 12 12
Calgary Folk Club
Oct 12 12
After The Storm
The Saturday Morning "Somebody-Asked-Me-To, So-Here-I-Go" Entertainment Review: The Calgary Folk Club
This is the second review that I've had the chance to do for this enduring music venue, and there will be more - so check back every two weeks to see who else has passed through their doors to enthral eager folk fans!
For last night's lineup, it was the return of the club's former house band, After The Storm. Clearly a welcome return, as the singalong started early on in their opening act set. Lively and authentic Celtic music, I tweeted in jest that I had better peek outside, just to make sure the Rocky Mountains were still in place outside - it was feeling so much like the East coast in the room that I was craving some fresh lobster and a puffin feather for a toothpick...
Some terrific covers among their originals, including "Fogarty's Cove", a Stan Rogers classic I've long since worn out on a vinyl album my sister gave me years (decades??) ago. It's not often opening acts receive a standing ovation, but these talented gentleman were called back onstage for a dandy encore. Too bad their CDs were sold out - small surprise!
Headliner Julian Dawson then brought his warm English charm and humour onto the stage for two sets.
Here's the funny thing. The human voice is a constant source of surprise. Over the years, Mrs. That Dan Guy and I have seen several performers set aside the microphone, and just belt out a song acapella. Tony Bennett did it here in the Jubilee Auditorium. Michael Buble did it in the Saddledome. New York alternative (and arguably somewhat folkie) artist Jonathan Richman had his audience melting in the Manitoba Theatre Centre. When Mr. Dawson did the same thing (several times) last night, it was extraordinary. Especially when the audience sang along. That, my friends, is magic. During his opening "Fragile As China", working in a line of Joni Mitchell's - wow.....
It is no easy task for a solo artist with just a guitar (and for one song just a harmonica...a freakin' harmonica!!) to hold an audience through to the conclusion, but after the engaging and boisterous sing-a-longs After The Storm provided, there were times during Dawson's two sets you could have heard a pin drop. His 37 years of stage experience have made him a master of balancing upbeat tunes with songs that ripped out your heart. And as he admitted, most of the songs many of us in the audience had never heard before - that is an accomplishment.
While his songbook may not be familiar to many, his pedigree is astonishing. He has collaborated with artists like Lucinda Williams, Vince Gill, Toots Theilemans, Richard Thompson, bluegrass legend Jerry Douglas, Dennis Locorriere, members of Squeeze - and piano legend Nicky Hopkins. I had tweeted before he got onstage that Hopkins had played with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and my hometown fav Neil Young (to name just a small handful), so when Dawson closed with some anecdotes and memories of that collaboration - what can I say, made me regret it had taken me so long to discover his obvious gifts...
On a side note, he did a couple of Lovin' Spoonful songs. Quite a few years back, I saw former Spoonful frontman John Sebastian perform live as the opening act for legendary folkie Arlo Guthrie.
Last night made me feel like I was seeing another legend.
Find out more about Julian at http://www.juliandawson.com/
Check out The Calgary Folk Club at their own web site
And keep your eyes out for After The Storm - you won't go wrong with any of those recommendations!
Chow for now...